The Worst Fantasy Infielders In Baseball
Catcher: Drew Butera, Twins (Rank 1094)
Called into action because of the Joe Mauer injury, Butera, a former firth round pick, hit just .197 last season. That is actually considered a career year for the 27-year-old backstop who is now batting .150 with one home run in 107 at bats.
First Base: James Loney, Dodgers (Rank 778)
It’s bad enough that Loney has never been able to hit with much power, but now that his average is down to .242 on the season after hitting just .267 last season, Loney is not tolerable.
Second Base: Chone Figgins, Mariners (Rank 945)
Rewarded with a long-term contract in Seattle, Figgins responded with a disappointing .259 average last season and just 62 runs scored. As bad as it was, a .286 average following the All-Star break made it look like an aberration. Not the case, as Figgins is hitting just .182 this season and is now batting eighth in the Mariners lineup.
Shortstop: Miguel Tejada, Giants (Rank 939)
Thinking that Miguel Tejada would be an improvement over Edgar Renteria, the Giants acquired the veteran shortstop. A .217 average with one home run and seven errors suggests this was not the best move.
Third base: Jose Lopez, Rockies (Rank 983)
Once considered a rising star, Jose Lopez blasted 25 home runs with 96 RBI in 2009. However, his inability to draw walks coupled with diminishing returns made Lopez expendable in his first season with the Rockies. He has officially been released with a .208 average in 125 at bats.
The Rookie Report
Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers
This 23-year old shortstop may have been rushed a bit to the Majors because of the injury to Rafael Furcal. Gordon is by all means a speedster, who has swiped 50-plus bases in back-to-back seasons in the Minor Leagues.
His lack of power actually plays well at the pitcher-friendly Dodgers Stadium, where deep flies often die at the warning track. Gordon just has to prove that he can get on base and make the plays at shortstop. Gordon was batting .315 through 50 games before his call up to the Majors. If in need of speed, he’s an intriguing fantasy pickup.
Brett Lawrie, 2B/3B, Blue Jays
Lawrie is everything that Blue Jays fans could ever have dreamed of. Just 21 years old, this former first round pick is a British Columbia native who boasts all five tools, particularly power and speed. Though playing in the Las Vegas desert inflates his statistics a bit, you cannot ignore his 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and .354 batting clip through 52 games.
Lawrie was expected to be called up this week before a recent beaning set him back a week. There’s still a chance that Lawrie gets the call to man third base, a position that has become a black hole for the Blue Jays since Jose Bautista moved to the outfield.
Dustin Ackley, 2B
The second overall pick of the 2009 draft, Ackley has made some solid improvements in his second season in the Minor Leagues. There is not a particular statistic that jumps out at you when studying Ackley’s performance, but he is solid across the board.
He is an incredibly patient batter with some pop and speed. Ackley is also a middle infielder, and despite rumors of a move to the outfield, he is likely to man second base when he earns his call up to the Big Leagues.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Padres
Mired in last place, the Padres are certainly feeling the effects of letting Adrian Gonzalez go to the Red Sox. On the other hand, through the trade they acquired a monster bat that is tearing up the Minor Leagues and ready for a promotion to the Majors.
We’re talking about 21-year old first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who is currently batting .365 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI through just 52 games at Triple-A. The numbers are a bit surprising, considering Rizzo has never hit for average before, but at this point, the Padres can’t afford to let the Brad Hawpe/Jorge Cantu platoon continue at first base considering both veterans are batting less than .240 this season.
Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays
One of the most hyped prospects in all of baseball, Desmond Jennings may have been a bit overrated, considering people were talking about him as a sure-fire replacement of Carl Crawford as early as last season. The comparisons are understandable since both talents have a similar skill-set, but Crawford was an MVP caliber player while Jennings is just trying to get his career started.
In his first taste of the Majors last season Jennings hit just .190 with two steals in 17 games. The Rays deemed Jennings not ready to man left-field in the Major Leagues, so he is playing at the Triple-A level for a third year in a row. The good news is that Jennings has become more patient at the plate and is starting to drive the ball with more power. He has been far from dominant, but considering the Sam Fuld experiment is starting to go flat, Jennings would be an upgrade.
Jemile Weeks, 2B, A’s
If you missed out on acquiring Rickie Weeks for your fantasy team, you ought to get to know his younger brother Jemile Weeks. A first round pick out of Miami, Weeks is also a second baseman who will get to fill in for the injured Mark Ellis.
Weeks has yet to develop the power of his older brother, but he can supply Oakland with some much-needed offense. Through 44 games at Triple-A, Weeks boasts a .321 average with four triples and nine stolen bases. The big question now is whether Bob Geren will provide Weeks with some regular at bats, or if he’s merely an insurance option behind Scott Sizemore and Adam Rosales.
Miguel Olivo, C, Mariners
A move to Seattle is usually enough to limit your fantasy production for power hitters, but not Miguel Olivo. The veteran backstop has blasted home runs in three straight games (all at home). He now boasts seven bombs on the season with 26 RBI, 26 runs, and even two steals. Olivo has been a model of consistency averaging greater than 16 home runs over the last five seasons. He’s a solid fantasy pick up.
Dillon Gee, SP, Mets
He’s been treated as a low potential prospect by the Mets over the last few years, a franchise often giving opportunities to Pat Mitsch over Dillon Gee, but this Gee knows how to pitch. The 25-year old has now made 16 appearances and the numbers are sensational: 8-2 record, 2.90 ERA, and a .209 average against. Gee is 6-0 this season and is a must-start at home where he is 4-0 with a 1.77 ERA. His next start will be this weekend at Pittsburgh.
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Rangers
Get to Know Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland. The 25-year old left-handed slugger is riding a six-game hit streak with two home runs over that stretch. Those six-games, by the way, have all come on the road, so this is a bit different than usual for a Rangers pick up. Moreland was supposed to be a platoon option for the Rangers, but his .313 average ad eight home runs are leading to extended action. Though he has struggled this season against southpaws, he may get some extra opportunities as the Rangers look to keep his bat in the lineup.
Josh Collmenter, SP, Diamondbacks
Similar to the Mets Dillon Gee, Diamondbacks hurler Josh Collmenter has shocked everyone with a stellar start to his Major League career after less than stellar results in the Minor Leagues. Through 43.1 innings, Collmenter is 4-1 with a 1.25 ERA and 0.67 WHIP. He hides the ball well in his delivery, which may explain how he has only surrendered runs in three of his 12 appearances this season. Similar to Gee, Collmenter’s next start will come against the Pirates, which makes him a solid pick-up this week.
Allen Craig, 2B, Cardinals
If you’re looking for a sleeper in the middle infield, I really like Cardinals 26-year old Allen Craig. He is the ultimate utility man and a heck of a bat. Through 106 at bats this season, Craig is batting .340 with four home runs, 23 RBI, and four steals. If this doesn’t sound sustainable to you, consider that in two seasons of Triple-A baseball, Craig hit .321 with 40 home runs and 164 RBI. He is a fine hitter and he’s finally getting his chance.
Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies
The 36-year old first baseman is having a blast from the past with six home runs, 19 RBI, and a .325 average. He has 3 homers in the last four games and now is just two shy of last year’s total of eight home runs.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers
This 24-year old backstop is red-hot with a six game hit streak that includes 10 hits, 2 homers, and 9 RBI. He is now hitting .329 on the season. Lasts eason he hit just .256 with four homers, but this is a guy who once hit 20 homers in a season in the Minor Leagues.
Rick Porcello, SP, Tigers
At 22 years old, Porcello already has 27 wins under his belt, and he is currently riding three straight wins. Over his last 5 starts, Porcello has surrendered just 7 earned runs, and while he does not get many strikeouts, he has offered a solid 3.67 ERA.
Fernando Salas/ Mitchell Boggs
The Cardinal’s closer’s gig is back on the market after Eduardo Sanchez blew a few saves. There are two names to know right now. Fernando Salas is a 25-year old hurler who boasts a 1.15 ERA this season with three saves. He gets about a strikeout per inning, and the opposition is hitting .170 off him. Then there is Mitchell Boggs a 27-year old flame-thrower with a 19-4 strikeout to walk ratio this season. He also has three saves, but his ERA is up to 3.66 and he struggled when initially handed the job a few weeks back.
Jorge Posada, C, Yankees
As if a .165 batting average wasn’t enough to keep him humble, Jorge Posada then asked out of the lineup when he was slotted to hit ninth on a nationally televised Saturday game against the Red Sox. He regrets the decision, and he won’t be punished thanks to his tremendous career in pinstripes. However, it does bring greater attention to the Yankees DH slot. If he does not get his average north of .200 by the end of the week, he is bound to lose his job. He already sits against southpaws, as he hasn’t had a hit in 24 at bats against them this season. Posada actually hit .257 against southpaws last year with a .493 slugging percentage, which is higher than what he offered against right-handers, so the fact that he is now getting benched against southpaws looks more like an excuse to take him out of the lineup.
1) Brian Wilson
2 wins, 3 saves, 7 K’s, 5 IP, 0 R (9 Straight shutout apps)
2) Tom Gorzelanny
2 wins, 15 IP, 10 K’s, 1.20 ERA(2.87 ERA, 0.90 WHIP)
3) Jaime Garcia
1 win, 9 IP, 8 K’s, 0 R, 0.33 WHIP (4-0, 1.99 ERA)
4) David Price
1 win, 8.2 IP, 10 K’s, 0 R, 0.46 WHIP (3.26 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
5) Tim Hudson
1 win, 9 IP, 6 K’s, 0 R, 0.22 WHIP (2.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)
As far as the historic performances, have some more confidence in Francisco Liriano and Yovani Gallardo, they are good pitchers off to bad starts. Justin Verlander is an absolute star and that’s why he was often my top pitcher in fantasy drafts.
Top 5 MLB Hitters of the Week 5/2-5/8
1) Gaby Sanchez
13 hits in 28 at bats, 2 HR, 10 RBI (.328 AVG, 5 HR, 21 R)
2) Adrian Gonzalez
3 HR, 9 RBI, .321 AVG (.314 avg, 4 HR, 24 RBI)
3) Jacoby Ellsbury
6 runs, 5 steals, .387 AVG (.295 avg, 23 runs, 10 stl)
4) Erick Aybar
4 runs, 5 RBI, 4 steals, .406 AVG (Batting .356 with 8 Stl)
5) Vernon Wells
7 runs, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 STL (Batting just .179 this season)
A View of the Diamond: Derek Jeter- average of .276, 18 runs, riding a 6 game hit streak, he currently ranks 18th at his position, but he seems to be a streaky option, I would play him now, but he could be a platoon option. Play him against southpaws, he is batting .333 against them this year, and play him in day games when he bats .326.
What happened to Hanley Ramirez?
Why is a .310 hitter batting just .197 on the season without a home run?
– What’s the big difference between last year and this year? 46 of the 327 pitches that have been thrown his way are right over the middle of the plate waist high and he is batting just .273 with a .364 slugging percentage thanks to just one extra base hit (a double on a fastball against John Lannon) in 12 at bats. In comparison, last season Ramirez faced 323 pitches right over the middle of the plate and he batted .326 with a .612 slugging percentage.
– Conclusion– He is not punishing the pitches he should hit.
– As far as the outpitches, how’s Hanley handling those? Ramirez has historically struggled against off-speed pitches. Last season, he hit just .245 against non fastballs. However, they only threw those pitches 39% of the time. This year, they have thrown Ramirez off-speed pitches 40% of the time, but there are two major issues, number one, he’s not hitting the fastball. The very pitch he hit .361 against in 2009, and .336 in 2010, Ramirez is hitting just .262 in 42 at bats.
– Is there anything different about the fastballs thrown to him this season? The answer is yes, they are coming in at 91.2 MPH, compared to 90.5 MPH in 2009 and 90.7 in 2010.
– And then there is the change-up, a pitch Ramirez has yet to get a hit again in 10 at bats.
– Conclusion– He is struggling more than ever against the off-speed pitches, but he is also not hitting the pitches that we’d expect him to hit, considering he is just 27-years old and has not suffered an injury, Ramirez should bounce back.
What’s the difference for Lance Berkman?
– Lance Berkman is not just good, he has been perhaps the best hitter in all of baseball with a .410 average, 8 homers, 22 runs, and 22 RBI. Why is it such a surprise for the perennial All-Star, well first of all he is 35 years and second, he is coming off his worst season, when he hit just .248.
– Is it a move to St. Louis? No, Berkman has all eight home runs on the road this season in 11 games, though at home he is batting .432.
– So how can you get him out? Throw the ball low, as in below the strike zone, he has yet to get a hit in 5 at bats against those pitches. And paint the corners. When the ball is thrown over the heart of the plate, Berkman boasts a .421 average and .895 slugging percentage.
– When he’s batting from the left side, throw the ball inside, he boasts just a .273 average on inside pitches. When he’s batting from the road side, he has yet to get a hit above his waist.
– Conclusion– Berkman has been incredible, and you can’t really pitch around him with Pujols and Holliday before him and Colby Rasmus after him. The pitchers have to paint the corners, otherwise, just wait for the veteran to cool down.
By Bloomberg Sports // Ballpark Figures: Stock Report— Bloomberg Television’s Michele Steele and Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Analyst Rob Shaw discuss the fantasy baseball headlines. Shaw tells us Manny Ramirez should enjoy a bump in production when it comes to joining the Chicago White Sox. Aroldis Chapman should rack up plenty of K’s and a sweet ERA for the Reds. Brandon Morrow’s fantasy value takes a hit as the Blue Jays look to limit his innings. Jose Reyes is injured again and should not be depended upon for at least another week. Finally, Yankees rookie Ivan Nova has pushed controversy to the side with another fine outing for the Bombers. For more fantasy insight follow us Twitter.com/BloombergSports.
By Bloomberg Sports // Ballpark Figures: Stock Report– Bloomberg Television’s Michele Steele and Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Analyst Rob Shaw are talking baseball. For the details surrounding the K-Rod Mets saga, Jim Thome’s power display, the injured second base superstars, and Josh Willingham and Jacoby Ellsbury, Bloomberg Sports brings on USA Today baseball columnist Steve Gardner. For more fantasy insight visit the Fantasy Windup at USAToday.com as well as BloombergSports.com for your top notch data analysis.
By Bloomberg Sports //
Ballpark Figures: Fantasy Headlines*– Bloomberg Television’s Michele Steele and Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Analyst Rob Shaw discuss the headlines from the weekend on the dismond. Shaw discusses Yankees killer Bryan Bullington, Twins hurler Kevin Slowey, who was removed from a no-hitter seven innings deep. Shaw also comments on the closer situations in Baltimore and Los Angeles, as well as the latest injury to Rich Harden. For more fantasy insight visit us at BloombergSports.com.